Heavy alcohol use can damage your health in a variety of ways. One common problem is a severe decline in your nutritional status. Due to loss of appetite and other factors, people affected by alcoholism tend to eat poorly. As a result, they often suffer from significant nutrition-related issues. By entering alcohol detox and rehab, you can start to undo some of the damage caused by the link between alcohol and appetite loss. In turn, you set the stage for restoring your nutritional well-being.
Alcohol and Appetite Loss Caused by Suppressive Effects
Alcohol use is often associated with an increase in appetite, not a decrease. And in fact, consuming one or two drinks before a meal can make you feel hungrier. However, the situation changes if you drink heavy amounts of alcohol.
In these circumstances, alcohol typically functions as an appetite suppressant. Why? It alters the way your body processes its hunger signals. This fact helps explain why heavy drinkers can go without eating for extended periods.
Feelings of Fullness Are Key Between Alcohol and Loss of Appetite
Compared to food, alcohol has very little nutritional value. However, it still contains ample amounts of calories. In addition, when you drink in large amounts, you fill the available space within your stomach. Together, these factors can leave you feeling satiated. In other words, you don’t experience normal levels of hunger.
The Loss of Appetite and Alcohol Connection May Stem from Cravings
The direct connection between alcohol and appetite loss is not the only reason people with alcoholism skip meals. One of the key symptoms of the disorder is an intense craving for more alcohol when you’re not actively drinking. This craving helps power the continuing cycle of heavy alcohol use.
However, it also has another significant impact. When you prioritize your cravings for alcohol, you tend to de-prioritize your cravings for food. For this reason, some people affected by alcoholism forget to eat. In other cases, affected drinkers intentionally avoid eating so they can:
- Consume greater amounts of alcohol
- More easily feel alcohol’s intoxicating effects
This shift in priorities reinforces a lack of adequate food intake.
Potential Health Consequences of Alcoholism and Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite can have very serious consequences in people affected by alcoholism. Many of these consequences are the result of alcohol-related nutritional deficiencies. Potential effects of these deficiencies include:
- A worsening of any direct liver damage caused by heavy drinking
- Pancreatitis, or inflammation of your pancreas
- Brain damage in the form of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
- Increased risks for fetal harm in pregnant women
Loss of appetite is also a specific symptom of certain alcohol-related health conditions. One such condition is alcoholic hepatitis. People with this illness have an inflamed liver caused by chronic heavy drinking. Left untreated, it can lead to permanent liver scarring or cirrhosis. Not surprisingly, malnutrition often accompanies alcoholic hepatitis.
Appetite loss is also a common symptom of alcoholic ketoacidosis. People with this condition have dangerously high levels of acids called ketones in their bloodstream. Left untreated, it can lead to life-threatening problems such as coma, seizures, or pneumonia.
Learn More About Alcohol and Appetite Loss at Northpoint Colorado
Want to know more about alcohol and loss of appetite? Talk to the experts at Northpoint Colorado. We can provide you with a full breakdown of the link between loss of appetite and alcohol use. We can also help you gauge the impact of drinking on your own appetite levels.
If you’re affected by serious alcohol problems, Northpoint Colorado is here for you. We specialize in the treatment of all alcohol use disorders. Our comprehensive approach includes both detox and rehab services. To learn more about those services, call us today at 970.579.4569 or fill out our online form.